Dickie Forehead

Name ID 1590

See also

Read, David Beating about the Bush
Page Number: 011b
Extract Date: 1937

Mr. Forehead

Mr. Forehead, one of the masters, together with one of the female staff, took me in hand and started the slow business of educating me to the standard attained by my peers. Luckily I was not alone in being so backward as there was an Afrikaans boy, strong as an ox and a good sportsman, who had received as little education as I and with his moral support, and that of Jeff and David, the bullying eased up and I began to climb the scholastic ladder.

By the end of the second term I had made reasonable progress and a natural ability for mathematics had placed me among the top ten of my class. I had spoken Swahili, Kikuyu and Masai practically all my life, and so encouraged by Mr. Forehead I took Swahili as an extra subject, proving to be the most fluent in the school, amongst both students and staff. This linguistic accolade was strictly limited to the African languages, because my written English, and particularly my spelling, fell way short of acceptable and still proves difficult for me to this day.

Extract ID: 4177

See also

Read, David Beating about the Bush
Page Number: 026
Extract Date: 1938 Easter


When Easter came around, we were uncertain as to what to do. Two weeks holiday at Easter was far too short a time for the long journey home, so most children from distant parts of the country remained in the area of the school, staying with friends or relatives. Dickie Forehead, my favourite among the masters, invited Jeff Hollyer, David HowBrown and me to go on a camping trip with him. Dickie was one of the most academically gifted, and one of the nicest men I have ever known but unfortunately found it very difficult to discipline a class of unruly children, because he was far too kind. On his own, away from the school or out in the bush one could not find a more interesting person or a better friend. I owe most of my small amount of education to him, and the greater part of that was absorbed outside the classroom. He was a very religious man and later joined the Church Missionary Society but he never forced his beliefs on others nor lost that sensible worldly outlook that differentiates the spiritual from the zealouts.

Dickie had a shotgun and a bird licence for certain game birds in season, which he did not use himself but he did allow certain of the older boys to use it and this was one of my privileges. When we had gathered a small tent, cooking utensils, sleeping bags, fishing tackle, digging and car tools, basic foodstuffs and all the other odds and ends necessary for a ten-day safari, there was not much room left in the old B Model Chevrolet Box Body. Dickie and two others sat in front and the third squeezed himself into the back with all the kit. On the way we shot some yellow-necked spurfowl for our supper and reached Babati, just over a hundred miles away just as it was getting dark.

Extract ID: 4184
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